Words with Power by Northrop Frye
Being a Second Study of "The Bible and Literature"

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Words with Power is the crowning achievement of the latter half of Northrop Frye's career. Portions of the work can be found in Frye's notebooks as far back as the mid-1960s when he had just finished Anatomy of Criticism, and he completed the book shortly before his death in 1991. Beyond summing up his ideas about the relation of the Bible to Western culture, Words with Power boldly confronts a host of questions ranging from the relationship between literature and ideology to the real meaning of words like 'spirit' and 'faith.'

The first half of the 'double mirror' structure looks at the language in which the Bible is written, arguing that it is identical to that of myth and metaphor. Frye suggests, therefore, that given this characteristic, the Bible should be read imaginatively rather than historically or doctrinally. However, he is also careful to point out the ways in which the Bible is more than a conventional work of fiction. The second half is an astonishing tour de force in which Frye demonstrates how both the Bible and literature revolve around four primary concerns of human life.

This edition goes beyond the original in its documentation of Frye's dazzlingly encyclopedic range of reference. Profound and searching, Words with Power is perhaps the most daring book of Frye's career and one of the most exciting.


About Northrop Frye

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Northrop Frye (1912-1991) was one of the twentieth century's most influential English scholars and literary critics. Northrop Frye was a professor in the Department of English at Victoria University in the University of Toronto from 1939 until his death. His works include Words with Power and Anatomy of Criticism. Michael Dolzani is a professor in the Department of English at Baldwin-Wallace College.
Published August 9, 2008 by University of Toronto Press. 401 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Steering his middle course with consummate skill, Frye explores how mythology and folklore give to literature its ""central structural principles."" He does this first by asking ""What is the basis of the poet's authority[?], ""answering that ""it is bound up with the authority of poetic language...

Nov 01 1990 | Read Full Review of Words with Power: Being a Sec...

Publishers Weekly

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Frye (1912-1991) analyzes the Bible's imagery, narrative structure and influence upon literary classics in his tremendously rich sequel to The Great Code: The Bible and Literature .

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